Stephan Chapman has revealed some really disturbing instances of blackhat SEO in the past couple of weeks. One of his posts reveals how prestigious American universities such as Harvard and Yale are being targeted by blackhat SEOs.

Most university system administrators are lazy, unaware and too busy fiddling with steam engine era technologies, I say that because I have first hand experience working with them. I recall writing a document outlining usability and UX issues for University of Brighton’s website, till this day nothing has been done about those issues. Although not a major issue try http://brighton.ac.uk/ as an example, how long does it take to redirect a non-www? Isn’t that sheer laziness and neglect?

Following Stephan Chapman’s lead, I will point out some UK based universities who have been compromised by blackhat SEOs.

Let’s take a look at University of Edinburgh

As you can see above, the site clearly has been compromised. If you click on the link you will automatically download a file called taut1.csm, be warned I don’t know what the file does.

Let’s take a look at Filton College Bristol:

Filton College’s website has been hacked, by hacked I don’t mean another simple link or title injection! It has been hacked for good! If you click on the link shown above you will be taken to a page called United Pharmacy. Basically, if you request http://www.filton.ac.uk/index.php from your browser, you will see the real Filton College frontpage. However, if you click on the relevant link from Google SERPs, you will be taken to a page solely created to sell you viagra. Here is a screenshot of it:

This is a major security breach, the hacker can literally do what ever (s)he wishes with the site. They can funnel visitors wherever and however they will. Google does a pretty good job, it indicates in the SERPs that the website has been compromised, notice what I have highlighted in the SERPs screenshot.

It doesn’t take long for a webmaster to find out about these things if they do their job properly. Verify the site on Google Webmaster Tools and Google will actually notify you when dark cloaking occurs on your website. Verifying your website on Webmaster Tools takes no more than a few minutes!

Here are some other examples:

And you thought this doesn’t happen to government websites? Think again…